Monday, December 31, 2007

...and a...

The family trip to Santa Fe was great fun. There was plenty to do, but with lots of down time as well- which I always need! There were lots of cool places to go, great restaurants to eat at, and the best skiing conditions I've experienced in years (and years!).

So now, here we are, the last day of 2007. All in all, it was a great year. I discovered the art of Mosaics, and all the great people from the classes I've taken. I found a really talented cellist to collaborate with, which I had been wanting to do for years, but this year...I finally did it! My brother got a new dog named Deville- and I LOVE him. For me, those were my highlights. Of the NEW things that came into life this year.

The other highlights of course were the tried and true things that were already in my life, even before 2007 came along. My family, friends, and Zoe and Scout- who qualify as both friends and family. My quiet little neighborhood. My love and appreciation for music. All the little moments in every day life. Well, most of them anyway.

Losing Mom in 2005 made me just really hate that year. It was a miserable year- the worst I've ever experienced. But I look at how far we've come in our healing. I thought I'd never even feel happy again without her around. But happiness is really all around. Everyday. Inspired by beautiful things, and great people. And memories of Mom are embedded into my being- so she's really never too far away.

So here's to 2007. The world was good to me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, NM. This is now our 3rd Christmas without Mom. We keep trying out new things to make Christmas half the fun it used to be when she was with us.

The first year, we decided to get outta Dodge (er, I mean Dallas) and go to Lake Tahoe. It really was (and still is, I'm sure) a lovely place. But it was also rainy, which is sort of weird when you're expecting snow and skiing. My Dad rented a beautiful house that my family and I stayed in. Each morning Dad would open up the curtains, see more rain and declare, "This is the trip from hell." Which it wasn't. But SOME of us started to go a little stir crazy, and the next thing I knew, our return flight had been changed, cutting our trip a day and 1/2 short, by a certain member of my family without my consent or knowledge. My dad, brother and I caught an insanely early flight around 6am. My husband had to take a different flight much later that afternoon. Because of bad weather, his flight had all sorts of delays and was then re-routed to Vegas where he finally arrived in the middle of the night (oops) after traveling or waiting in the airport for about 10 hours. On his birthday! So I wouldn't say the trip ended on a good note. (But neither would I call it "The Trip From Hell")

The next year, we decided to stay here in Dallas. And for the first year ever, my sister and her family decided not to come to Dallas, but to stay at their home in Seattle. So Christmas morning was just Dad, my brother, Fermin and me. And that was weird. Nice, but weird because it didn't feel like Christmas.

So this year, we're blowing out of town again. This time to Santa Fe. My sister and her new boyfriend and my nephew are meeting us there. Again, we're all staying in a house together that Dad rented for us. We're not calling this a ski trip. Who knows, we may not even ski! So if it rains every day, we won't even be disappointed. We're bringing games, puzzles, snacks, and warm clothes and we're prepared. I think. Hopefully, no one's going to label this one "The Trip From Hell".

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Last night at a party, one of my friends used the word "doppelganger". In a sentence. I had no idea what it meant. But it sounded kind of gross. Ewwww? A doppelganger? Are you kidding me?

I turned to another friend next to me and asked her WHAT was a doppelganger. It's just a "double of a living person." But wow, what a complex and interesting word to define that. And somehow still a little gross-sounding to me.

This morning, I just happened to be reading a chapter from this funny book about writing called "Words Fail Me". This particular chapter was titled, "Pompous Circumstances- Hold the Baloney". It was all about people who write using big words. Like doppelganger. The author encourages writers to instead just say it, plain and simple. So that people (like me!) aren't left saying, "Huh?" or "Oh, so by "doppelganger", you just mean "double?""

I'm not criticizing the doppelganger dropper. I think it was hilarious word choice. And now I know this weird new word that I doubt I will ever be able to put it in any conversation or writing.

And now I know that somewhere out there, as gross as it may sound, we probably all have a doppelganger!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa's Workshop

Whew! I think I know, on a small scale, how the elves in Santa's Workshop must feel around Christmastime.

I decided months ago that this year I'd make all my gifts. I got an early start, thinking I had plenty of time to get it all done. Plenty of time. I was actually joyous when I'd lovingly work on my gifts. I'd put on music, get in the spirit of things, and get busy.

But then all of the sudden last week I realized just how "upon us" the holidays actually were! And I leave to go out of town on the 21st. And all gifts must be finished before I get on that sleigh!

So this week, instead of enjoying all my crafting, I'm being a little hurried and messy and a little spastic. Our home looks like my version of Santa's Workshop. My version doesn't have candy canes and gingerbread houses. Mrs. Claus isn't in the next room laughing with Santa. There's no other elves around helping me out. And there isn't any caroling going on. BUT, I've got Zoe and Scout watching me work, and kind of getting in my way. (But they mean well!) I'm getting caught up on some DVR'd Oprah shows. And every now and then, I take breaks and play a little music, or take a little walk out in the 70 degree sunshine.

And like Santa's elves, I'm making my gifts with love. Just hurried love.
Last night we went over to a guys house and intended to stay 45 minutes. We wound up being there will over 2 hours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I am so happy that I have a blog.
I love blogging. I love writing here, and I love reading other people's blogs.

I can't stand it though, when I visit a blog that hasn't been updated in a long time. In fact, if I visit one that is way outdated, there's no way I'm going to bookmark it, and so I'll probably forget about it, and perhaps never see it again.

So I try to be pretty regular about my posting. I want people to visit often, and I want them to not get too bored with me.

For a while there, I was finding no joy in writing on my blog. And so I really didn't. But I'm so happy that didn't go on for too long.

I think I know what happened. I was taking a writing class- which I loved by the way- and I was trying so hard to be a better writer that my "inner critic" kept saying mean stuff to me and I felt very discouraged.

Now I have a little distance from the class and writing here is fun again.
This blog's intention was just to express myself, and connect with anyone who reads it. There's really not pressure in that!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advancing Beginner

Today I had my fifth tennis lesson, and I am now officially (ok, honestly, it's pretty unofficial) an advanced beginner! That's what my teacher said! He said if he put me in group lessons, I'd be in the advanced beginners class. Not the beginner beginner class.

I have very little experience with any sport that takes skill. I don't "play" sports. I run, I lift, and I do yoga, so I consider myself athletic but I do NOT consider myself to have much coordination or athletic skill. And the last time I played any competitive sport was when I was an 8-year-old soccer enthusiast. I ran around the soccer field more than anyone- chasing the ball, and running away from it, but I rarely kicked it. Honestly, I was a little afraid of the ball hitting my face. So, I kept my distance, and I was the player that never scored. It didn't feel like "playing" to me, and it really wasn't much fun. My interest in soccer lasted less than a season.

But one day last month, as my sister and I watched my dad and his girlfriend play tennis, it just looked so fun. Dad's been taking tennis lessons and it seems to be working for him! His girlfriend has played most of her life, and from what I could tell, they seemed pretty evenly matched already.

That's when I started thinking about my lack of experience with any kind of sport that you get better at once you learn the skill to do it. Maybe tennis was something I could learn to play. Maybe if I learned the right technique, I wouldn't have to worry about the ball hitting my face.

So I mentioned to Dad how fun it all looked. The next thing I knew, I was signed up for my own private tennis lessons with Dad's instructor, John.

John, who is now my tennis instructor too, is the most encouraging guy around! He says things like, "Good job" and "Nice one" around a 100 times during my hour-long lesson. The other 100 times, he tells me, "That's ok, that's ok" or "Nice try!" It really cracks me up. But it also really encourages me and makes me think I'm good. And as a advanced beginner, that's just what I need!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Icing on the Cake

Well, this isn't officially my movie review blog,(but if you want to check that out, please click HERE ) but I think I'm about ready to combine all of my blogs into one anyway. So PLEASE let me talk about the movie I saw tonight: JUNO. Really, all I need to say is go see it. I could say it's a comedy, but it is so much more than that. It's also a drama. It's very sweet, very smart... Just trust me on this one and go see it. In fact, call me and I'll go with you to see it. I'll even drive. I liked it so much, I could see it again right now.

Which leads me to the rest of my story for the day.
As my husband and I were walking out of the theater and I was saying how much I loved the movie and that I would even see it again, he asked me if I had ever seen a movie and then immediately seen it again for a 2nd time.

Typically, I don't see movies more than once. Or at least I wait a long time in between so that I've forgotten enough of it that it can surprise me again. But there are a few exceptions.

So when I answered his question tonight, the movie that popped into mind immediately was GREASE. I vividly remember I was in 2nd grade and Mom took me to see it. We both LOVED it. And as we watched the credits roll at the end of the movie we were going on and on about our love for GREASE. And then Mom said, "Do you want to see it again right now?" And I said, "Do you?" She answered, "YES!" And it was even more fun to watch the second time around, because we sort of knew the songs. It was such a fun day with Mom.

And after I told Fermin this tonight I felt sort of overwhelmed by that sweet memory of my mom and me. I got very sniffley and said, "You know what's really sweet? (sniffle, sniffle) Most all of my memories of Mom seem to be of the last few years of her life, when she was sick. (sniffle, sniffle) But that is such a great memory. And today is her birthday."

What a gift. Icing on the cake. My Mom's cake.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've mentioned on this blog my neighborhood Garden Club I belong to. And like I've said before I LOVE these ladies. I know it's important for me to have older, sweet women in my life. These women are my neighbors and my friends. Most of them are in there 70s and 80s.

Well, today was our Christmas party and it was such fun.
One of my favorite ladies, Alice, called me a week or two ago and asked me if I'd play some holiday music for the party. So today, she gave me the sweetest introduction that I've ever had. And at the end of it she added, "And she's one of us." One of US. Thank you Alice!

Next, Alice had us each draw a little piece of paper out of a big red hat. Each piece of paper had a question about holiday traditions on it. Mine said, "Have you ever driven around and looked at Christmas lights- Tell about it if you have." Oh have I! This was the perfect question for me, because it is such a great tradition in my family- We've even rented buses to do it before! I learned about everyone's holiday traditions and I got to tell them one of mine. What fun. It's really neat to hear about family traditions, especially traditions of long ago. I got to hear some ladies tell about their childhood Christmas

Next came the gift exchange. I didn't realize we were doing this, and so didn't bring a gift. Being as sweet and nurturing as they are, someone of course tried to give me their gift. That is SO like something my mom would have done.

We ended our party with food. LOTS of food. Home baked goods. And lots of great conversation.

What a party- It started at 10:30, and I just got home at 1:00- (Daytime!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Great Discovery

Today I was sleuthing around on the internet, (or killing time-whatever) and I looked up the New Yorker website. I thought maybe there might be a few articles from the magazine available to read on the internet. A few? No, even better: the whole issue. And even better: back issues.

So then I thought, "I wonder about Vanity Fair?" And guess what? Yes, it's ALSO available online. I went to a few other magazine websites and found the same thing.

I even went to the Oprah magazine site: same deal. And what a deal! Especially for the O magazine. It's so bulky, and since I don't enjoy the feel of that, I cancelled my subscription over a year ago. I decided that would be my little way of contributing, or rather not contributing, to the environment. The main article I liked to read was on the last page of each issue. It's the essay Oprah writes called, "What I Know For Sure". She's Oprah. She knows a lot. I love reading what she's got to say about what she knows for sure. I've been missing those little essays since cancelling my subscription.

Now, thanks to my discovery, I don't have to anymore.

I still love to read real live magazines, and real live books. But for short articles and essays, I don't mind reading them online. And think of all I'm doing for the environment!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back Up Your Files

My computer seems to be on the blink. Not the one I'm using now for this post, but my laptop that I use for... everything. The laptop that I keep saying, "I need to back up my files!" about.

And now look at me! Here I am, realizing, I really should have backed up those files.

I have diagnosed my computer's problem myself. I think the screen bulb blew out. And it's going to be replaced later today. That's what I've DECIDED. I've also decided that seriously, TODAY is the day, I am going to back up my files once my computer comes back to me, safe and sound. I've decided the screen is black and the computer seems funtion-less simply because the bulb is out. I've decided there's nothing to panic about. This is just a little reminder to back up my files.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Missing Her

Time marches on! The world keeps turning! Time heals all wounds!

I know that mostly, these things are true. But I also know that sometimes I can be brought to my knees in grief, and I feel the pain of a wound so deep that I think time will never heal it.

I decided I wanted to make an appointment with a nutritionist because little by little, my blood sugars have crept up. I've always thought I had diabetes all figured out, but lately, it has me a little confused. But I know it's nothing I can't figure out. I thought getting a some advice might help me figure it all out a little sooner.

As I walked up the steps to Dr. Lois office, I realized I hadn't been there since going with my Mom when she was undergoing chemo. As I walked up those exact steps, it occurred to me that last time I was there, I was with Mom (and Dad, of course). And a wave of such sadness- sadness I've only been familiar with surrounding her death- washed over me.

Once I got inside and saw Dr. Lois she said, "Hey girl! How are you?" and then, "How's your Mom?" I told her she had died a little over 2 1/2 years ago. She commented something like, "Oh, so it's been a while! I'm so sorry." And as I told her that yes, it had been some time now, but being in her office made it feel very fresh, I started to cry. In an instant, the crying started. This use to happen to me all the time shortly after Mom died. But it happens less and less often as the days move forward.

But since that little episode yesterday, I've found myself feeling so sad still today. I don't like to remember all my mom had to go through, and how brave she had to be. I just want to remember us laughing together and having so much fun together, because that's mainly how it was. But because my most recent memories are those of her when she had cancer, those memories are freshest. And that really sucks.

My Dad told me once when I was telling him how I struggle with those memories that he doesn't have that issue. His memories of her ARE of the good and healthy times. He told me whenever he starts to remember something sad, he quickly replaces it with a happy memory instead. I try that, and I'll keep trying that. Because I don't want my memories of mom to make me so sad anymore.

I can't imagine that I'll ever get rid of this ache I have for her-
The missing her I guess is never ending.
I hate to say it, but I don't really think that time heals all wounds.
But maybe it can lesson their pain eventually.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ladies Look Like Dudes?

Ladies Look Like Dudes?

This afternoon while walking my dog, Zoe, I saw an acquaintance. We said our hellos as our paths crossed and she added, "What a beautiful boy," as her eyes glanced over to Zoe.

The words I said out loud were just, "Thank you". The completed phrase I said inside my head was, "Thank you. But this here's NO boy, Ma'am!"

Why is it that certain breeds of dogs seem male, and others seem female? People mistake my Siberian Huskies for males often. Knowing them as I do, I find them to be very girlie. I know their favorite color is pink. I know they like to play with dolls. I know they love fancy lingerie. I know they like to watch chick flicks. However, I understand how a stranger could mistake them for male dogs. I have seen large breeds, like Bull Mastiffs, and for whatever reason assumed they were male. And I've seen teacup Poodles and assumed they were female. I don't know why that is, though. Is it just size? Is it the look on their face? Is it the way they walk?

Sometimes, when I tell someone my dogs are "littermates" they make the assumption that Scout is the brother, and Zoe is the sister. Maybe the name throws them? Maybe Scout's slightly larger and huskier size fools people into believing she’s the big brother?

Even my vet, who spayed both of my dogs, has mistakenly said to Scout, "Ok, get on up here, boy!" as he tries to coax her onto the examining table. I'm sure this doubly angers her. She hates getting up on that metal table to be poked and prodded in the first place, and then to be mistaken for a boy dog! Are you kidding me? Once the doctor does his poking and prodding, doesn’t he feel pretty stupid?

I can fault him, but I guess I shouldn't fault the general public. Like I said, I have been guilty of gender misidentification with dogs myself.

So maybe we should all be a little more careful and sensitive to this serious subject. We make a conscious effort not to misidentify gender when it comes to humans. Just because someone has boobs, we do not assume they are female. And just because they have facial hair, we do not assume they are male.

We need to give the same effort with dogs because not all big dogs are boys. And not all little dogs are girls.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I decided to throw some extra ingredients in with my leftover Indian food I was heating up today. At the restaurant yesterday, I ate some of the noodles and rice, all the vegetables and all the chicken. So, I thought it would be more nutritionally sound to throw in some broccoli and tofu today.

It looked delicious by the time I had it ready to eat! And perhaps, if I hadn't been expecting to bite into Indian cuisine, I would've been happy and satisfied. But this didn't taste like Indian food anymore. My leftover Indian food had become Asian food.

How could this be? All I did was add broccoli and tofu- NO flavorings of any kind. I assumed the stuff I added in would pick up the flavors of the existing food. Maybe all of it picked up the flavors of my wok instead. Or maybe seeing tofu tricks my head into tasting Asian food.

Oddly, this mix up of my flavors reminded me of two ladies in the knitting group I'm a part of. One of the women is Asian and the other is Indian. I have never thought that those two accents sound alike. But when I overhear them speaking softly to each other as they knit, I cannot understand either of them very well, but their accents sound so similar. If I closed my eyes, I could believe I was listening to two Indian women. And at the same time, I could believe it was two Asian women.

Same deal with my food. I've never thought that Indian food could taste like Asian food. Maybe everything and everyone is just more related than they at first seem.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I Want From Yoga

Just in case you've been wondering:

YES! I did complete my 2-week, every-single-day yoga experiment. Yay for me. And now when I go to a class, I sort of feel like I know what I'm doing. I can't SAY, but I can UNDERSTAND the yoga words that the teachers use for the different poses. So I don't have to look up from my mat as often.

I've found different classes and instructors I like, and I plan to continue showing up 3-5 times a week. I feel best on days when I do practice. And even when I don't go to a class, I try to do at least a few of those poses on my own. Even if its just for a few minutes while I'm watching tv.

I want to age gracefully. I want my bones to stay stong and I want my muscles to stay flexible. And I want a yoga butt.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh, How I Am Thankful

I don't take this great life for granted, and there are many people and even things I am thankful for on a daily basis. When I sat down to write in my morning journal, I decided to write a list of those things I am thankful for. And holy smokes! It's a long, long list. But it also seems somewhat lame when written in list form. My list mixes together the very, very important with the superficial. For example, right under "Zoe", I listed "my bathtub"- Do those two things even belong on the same list? And how can I put both "Fermin" and "my car" on the same list?

Well, they all made the list because, altho certainly not all equal in significance, it all adds up to this life I live. Big things, and little things. Meaningful stuff, and stuff that's embarrassingly superficial. It's lots of people, some places, and yes, quite a few things. And I'm honestly thankful for it all. All the pieces that make up this wonderful life!

I am thankful for it all!

Friday, November 16, 2007


For years now I've subscribed to Yoga Journal and bought numerous pairs of Yoga pants with the strong intention of become a yogi. I know it would be good for me. I know it would be a good balance to all the running I do. And it just appeals to me. In the pictures and articles in Yoga Journal, anyway.

Altho I've gone to some classes here and there, I've never been as regular with yoga as I would like to be. I want to know what it feels like to have a "yoga body". I want to know if it gets easier if I do it often. I want to know what noticeable changes it would bring about in me.

So about a week ago, I decided to immerse myself in yoga. I decided I would do at least one hour of yoga every single day, either a class or a DVD, for 2 solid weeks. That's 14 straight days. Almost as much yoga as I've done in my life all crammed into just 2 weeks!

I'm now 1/2 way thru that 2 week time frame. Going every day and making it a real priority has made a big difference. After a week of daily hour-long yoga practice, an hour no longer feels like an eternity. My body isn't really sore, like when you do a strenuous weight lifting session, but there is a weird (but good) kind of tightness going on, sort of on the inside of my body. I like the discipline of showing up for it each day. It feels like a great accomplishment.

All I promised myself at the beginning of this little goal of mine was that I would practice yoga for 14 solid days and then figure out if I ever wanted to do it again or if it just didn't seem like the thing for me. I wasn't committed to anything beyond just the 14 days.

Of course there is still another week to go, and who knows what might happen, but as of right now, I think this immersion of mine is going pretty well. "They" say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. But maybe it's possible that 14 could do it...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Yesteday My Car Had Freckles

I LOVE my Beetle. And usually, I'm very good about keeping it clean. I hand wash it myself, not really trusting what the carwash's heavy duty brushes might do to the convertible top.

But lately...urgh!- I've let it get filthy. I kept meaning to take it in for some maintanance, and I know they give it a wash there, so I kept waiting. But days kept going by, I kept forgetting to plan to take it into the shop, and it got dirtier and dirtier.

Then yesterday, I parked under a tree. A tree that evidently was a pit stop for LOTS of birds. I was ashamed and embarassed as I ran my errands afterwards. The hood of my car had become an unflushed toilet for birds and it wasn't pretty.

By the time I got my errand running done, I had so little time left that I decided to stop by the carwash right by my house that just opened. I knew just this one time wouldn't hurt my convertible top. I hadn't been to any car wash in a while, let alone a brand new one, so I was a little surprised when the attendant told me it would cost $13! That seemed steep.

But it wasn't. My car was sparkling by the time they got thru with it. There were about 4 guys drying it off and making it pretty while I sat and read a magazine.

My car's freckles, also known as bird shit, are now washed away. If it hadn't been for the birds, I probably never would have gone to that carwash, but I'm so very glad I did. I think I'm going to rethink my opinion about what the carwash's brushes might do to the top. Next time my car has freckles, I'll know just where to take it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I "Heart" Boobs

This past weekend was full of many wonderful things. And I'll probably write several posts this week about them.

One of the highlights was one I didn't expect at all.

When I took off for my run on Sunday, I got SO lucky. I happened to be running at the lake at the same time that hundreds, probably thousands, of people where on the final day of the 3 day, 60 mile walk for Breast Cancer.

Gobs of people, mainly women were dressed in pink- Many had shirts on with pictures of loved ones that said, "In Loving Memory of..." There were groups of people- Families, friends... There were even men, altho they were far out numbered by the women.

I saw a shirt that said I "Heart" Boobs. If I had seen someone wearing it anywhere else, I might have sort of rolled my eyes. But on THAT day, that shirt had such great meaning.

I also saw a few people with hat/visors made from bras- I also saw a guy wearing a helmet that he made look like a boob by putting a nipple in the middle of it. I saw a group of men wearing matching t-shirts that said, "Team Husbands".

People carried signs and banners- "Hope", "Healing", "Love",....
Hundreds and hundreds of people. I ran for 5 miles, and I never ran out of people to look at that moved me. I was either smiling, or fighting back tears during my entire run. To see a huge group of people, walking together for a purpose- It's powerful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Old Yeller

The weather has finally turned a little chill and that is such a welcomed thing. It seemed wrong to be picking up pecans that had fallen but sweating in 90 degree weather and being bit by mosquitoes at the same time.

I always love this time of year when we can pull out our sweaters, sweats, etc- LOVE it. But it also means I'm about to be seeing way too much of my husband's favorite fleece sweatshirt.

When this shirt was bought, way back in the '80's, it actually wasn't that bad. But over years and years it has faded, become unstitched and restitched, gotten pill-y, shrunk up in and stretched out, and gone WAY out of style (altho, it probably was never really in style). But my otherwise metro-sexual husband, for whatever reason, still loves it.

He even named it years ago. Old Yeller. I've been hearing him sing that song when he wears it, or is looking to wear it, for years. A long time ago, probably 7 years ago, my mom tried buying him a replacement, but New Yeller just didn't stick. Old Yeller is to Fermin what the blanket is to Linnus. He will not give it up.

He called me on his way home from work yesterday. Like everyone else in town seems to be, we're excited about this big weather change. I told him I was making tortilla soup. I also said maybe, "Hey, maybe we could make a fire tonight!" He asked me if I thought it was really that cold. "No, it isn't that cold, but doesn't that sound nice?!" And then he said, "Yeah, hmmm. Hey, I think it's time for Old Yeller!"

Really? Do you think it's REALLY that cold?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I went to my High School Reunion last weekend.
I had a graduating class of something like 850 people. Other than my husband and my oldest and best friend, Kelly, I've barely kept in touch with anyone in all these years.

Ten years ago, my husband and I went to the reunion and Kelly didn't make it in town for that one. Afterwards, she had regrets that she missed it, so we vowed that when the next one rolled around, we'd all go together. So here it was, the next one.

Kelly came into town for a long weekend and THAT was awesome! I love her and her family because in a way, they are my family and I'm a part of their's. And now she's got this 4 year old daughter, Sarah, that is really just the coolest little chick around. Kind of like a little Kelly. Nothing and no one, in my opinion, could be better than that!

Kelly, Fermin, and I all had very different experiences with high school with different memories of it. But we were all sort of anxious to go but also curious. (And I'm pretty sure I was the most anxious of the 3 of us.) On top of that, we made a pact that we'd go, so when Saturday night rolled around, we were off.

It was pretty much chaos from beginning to end. So many faces. Faces I sort of remembered, faces I'm pretty sure I'd never seen before, and faces that looked a lot older than they did last time I saw them. (And yes, I realized, my face is one of those older faces.)

In the midst of it, it felt fun. Or at least somewhat exciting. We got there quite late, but we stayed until the bitter end. It was obviously something I'd never experienced before.

I love analogies and I finally came up with one for my High School Reunion. Seeing all of those people was like eating popcorn. There's tons of it, you can keep eating and eating, but in the end, did it really fill you? I realized I talked to many people that night without having one real connection with anyone. When Kelly and Fermin and I got in the car, other than saying, "Did you see _______?" there was really not much beyond that to note.

Days later, I told Kelly about my "Popcorn as Reunion People" analogy and she added, "Yeah, and if you eat too much, you start to sort of feel sick." She had an early flight to catch the next morning, and perhaps the night ran a little late. It seems if I had stayed only an hour and looked around the room from person to person, it would have been nearly as much information as I got in the several hours that I had of cocktail party conversation. I learned nothing, and I revealed nothing.

Will I go to the next one? Probably. Who doesn't like to indulge in a buttery tub of popcorn every now and then no matter how unfulfulling it actually is?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Yesterday afternoon my brother's Bull Mastiff, Deville a.k.a. Nillie DeVillie somehow got out of his yard. My dog's have run away on several occasions- and even worse, my first Husky, Chloe- ran away and was run over by a car. So when a dog runs away from home, I take it very seriously. Anyone who's been thru it knows it sucks. It's a helpless, anxious feeling.

My phone rang early this morning and I saw on caller i.d. that it was my brother. I was hoping he was calling to report that Deville was safely back home. But instead, he was calling to ask me to help him make posters and put them out. Everywhere.

He lives in a loft downtown. In the seedy part of downtown. So all sorts of bad things might have happened to little Deville.

My brother, my Dad and I worked all morning on the Search and Rescue Squad. As we'd put signs up, a few people said encouraging words and wished us luck. Others told us possible scenarios of what they thought happened. One man said someone had probably picked him up and had already sold him. A woman told us that her dog had been stolen by mean people and when she finally got to see him, he had become vicious. Those were the people, altho they might have been good-intentioned, I really didn't want to hear from.

I kept feeling like we still had a good chance of finding him. My brother had put out a $300 dollar reward. Lots of homeless people live in his 'hood and that sounded like a great motivator to keep everyone on the lookout. We must have put out about 50 or 60 signs all together. I patted him on the back and said, "I really think we're gonna find him" and within a minute or two my brother's phone rang.

I could tell that the caller had Deville. My brother had goosebumps on his arm as he listened to the caller tell him that her husband saw him wondering around in the street yesterday afternoon and had brought him home to their house in Cedar Hills. She saw our signs while she was on her way from work to run some errands. SHE SAW OUR SIGNS. They worked.

I'm not a person who uses prayer as often as I probably should. But I kept saying little prayers yesterday and today. And this time, it made a big, big difference. At least it feels that way!

My brother and I just got off the phone. He said Deville's been on his best behavior this afternoon, and he kind of has that look on his face like, "Whoa. I know I almost really messed up our lives! I won't run again." And of course, my brother learned his lesson too and is taking EVERY precaution that this will never happen again but securing his property, making Deville wear his collar (even tho he hates it), etc.

And Zoe and Scout have gotten about a thousand extra kisses today- and now...a big, long walk!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Annie's Got Soul!

I'm here to give you my report on the Annie Lennox concert I went to on Sunday that I had previously mentioned on my blog.

I think it was so smart to go by myself- I think I appreciated it all the more. I didn't have to think about if the person I was with was happy... I was completely sucked into the performance and the music.

Annie started with "No More I Love You's" and I sort of started crying. Actually, there were several moments I sort of felt like crying. She is just such a cool iconic figure. And she's really dramatic and commanding, and just everything you'd expect. And of course, her voice is phenomenal. The whole thing from start to finish was very awe-inspiring.

Almost every song you associate with Annie, she performed. Even "Thorn in My Side"!!! And the older ones she made sound a little newer. And she sang about 3 songs from her new cd. And now after listening to the cd each time in my car, I'm realizing I love that cd as much as her others...

I'm currently sort of Annie-obsessed. I've brought out my old Eurythmics cds, and all of Annie's solo stuff. And it's all just so great! I'm even considering chopping off my hair and bleaching it. I recently bought the IPOD shuffle and so today I've been loading Annie on there. So I can't wait for my next run.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Licking Champion

This weekend I attended and performed at a cool benefit for Weimaraner Rescue (as well as so many other dog rescue groups I think, because many were there) called Mutts, Mystics and Moon Pies.

I got to bring my two biggest fans, Zoe and Scout. I sort of felt like I finally got to have my "Take Your Daughter(s) To Work Day".

While I was singing, there was a Face Licking Contest. The human partner squirted whipped cream all over their face, and then the dog partner was to lick it off. Whoever licked off all of whipped cream first was the winner. I felt so honored to get to play during such an event. But the most exciting part of it was that my dog Scout and my husband, Fermin, were the winning team!!!

Scout was awarded a set of 6 balls. My dogs, for whatever reason, have never understood the fetch concept, and just don't really play with toys in general. This morning, I got out all of the balls and started throwing them around. My dogs just watched as they rolled by.

The real reward for Scout was just getting to eat the whipped cream! She never gets to (a) eat human food or (b) lick Fermin's face. When she was a puppy she was very licky. Fermin use to have to tell her "NO" in his "I'm-the-boss-of-you" voice. So yesterday, she was at first reluctant to break what have always been the rules. But even with the several second delayed start, she was still the crowned The Licking Champion.

I am such a proud parent!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Book I Found On My Shelf

Sometimes, I buy books, and apparently, I just put them away on the bookshelf before reading them. Then, months or even years later, I rediscover them...

Today I was working on a tedious little task and was staring off into space, or rather, at my bookshelf. And the book that caught my eye was called "Why We Love"- I just started flipping thru it and now here I am, 52 pages later. And that tedious little task still has to be finished. But first, let me digress even more.

This book is written by the "renowned anthropologist", Helen Fisher, Ph.D and so far it's pretty fascinating. If asked to define love, it seems impossible. But here's actually some science behind it.

I know when people are in that "falling in love" stage, they might think, "THIS is a love like no other", but that is really false. It's science. It's the way the brain and the chemicals react not just in humans, but even in some animals!

"Why read this?" you might ask. Well, because the first part (and most of) the book are chapters that delve into the chemistry of love, the evolution of love, etc. which is interesting enough... But then towards the end of the book, there's a chapter called, "Making Romance Last"- Not just love...ROMANCE! And THAT's the stuff that I wanna know more about. From a scientist. Not just a therapist or a bad magazine article.

Chapter 8. I'll be there in about 130 more pages. Some skimming to get there may be involved, so I don't think it will take me long.

The other reason I want to read this is, well, at some point I bought it and clearly something about the book grabbed my attention. And then today, it caught me again. Love is a wonderful thing. We all know that. It's also sometimes painful. We already know that, too. And maybe there's even more to know about it than just those two simple and complicated facts.

Friday, October 5, 2007


I have never gone to a concert by myself before, but that will be changing next weekend for Annie Lennox. Her album called "Revenge" got me thru my first heartbreak, and I feel I owe it to her to be there.

She's playing at McFarland Auditorium at SMU. I've performed there as well. How cool is that?- I will have sort of shared the stage with Annie! Altho, when I performed there, I was about 7 years old and it was a tap dance recital, so it's not as cool as it might have first sounded.

Anyway, she's playing the Sunday after my high school reunion- next weekend. I wanted my friend, Kelly to go with me, since she'll be in town for the reunion. But she's flying out earlier that day. So, as my husband was taking a nap on the couch last weekend, I was on the phone with Ticketmaster reserving tickets, assuming he'd want to go. However, when I got the sort of pricey total of the tickets read out to me by the robotic operator I said, "Honey!! Wake up: FAST! Annie Lennox $180!!! Wanna go?" (we had no previous discussion that Annie Lennox was coming in town or anything, so I think my style of invite this time perhaps wasn't all that enticing) and he said he really had no desire to see her at all and went back to sleep. I guess Annie didn't mean to him what she means to me.

Like I said, "Revenge" got me thru my first broken heart back in the 80s. So after thinking it over later that night in the bathtub, I decided I'd love to just go to this concert alone. For just one ticket, it's about the price of a massage. And if I can treat myself to a massage every couple of months, I can certainly treat myself to ANNIE LENNOX!

She just released a new cd, which I of course bought the day it came out. It's no "Revenge", but it's Annie! And if she could just sing "Thorn in My Side" it would slide me right back into the 80's, my heartache, my anger, and it would be the perfect ending to my high school reunion weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Police Report

After seeing a report on the news about the increased crime at White Rock Lake, I started thinking more about that whole beer-bottle-thrown-at-my-head incident. The news report cautioned that women, in particular, should go in pairs when they're walking or whatever at the lake. Or to at least take a dog. Well, I don't have friends that I run with, and my dogs are now 11 years old, and I'm not sure they'd be down with a 5 miles run- Or rather, I'm afraid they might, in fact, be DOWN with it...

The news report also said that the Dallas Police Dept. didn't have any plans to put more security out there. Even tho crime has increased at a reportedly alarming rate. WHAT?!

So my husband and I talked it over and he encouraged me to report "the incident" so the police would have yet another statistic to add to perhaps get the necessary beefed up security.

I asked my neighborhood crime watch person who to call for a non-emergency report. She told me to call 911 and just tell them, "I have a non-emergency I'd like to report." My neighbor also added, "Be careful if you run at the lake by yourself! There've been sexual assaults reported!" Oh my! I'm hearing it again. It must be true.

So I called 911. The operator asked me what my report was, and I told her. And then she said she'd be sending out an officer. I replied, "Can I just talk with someone on the phone, rather than them coming out." And she that no, she'd be sending an officer out. And I thought, "Well, I guess this is just procedure."

When an officer arrived at my door, he said, "Mrs. Arista, I was told you insisted on having an officer out to your house to report a crime that happened to you-"

URGH. I felt so embaressed and wronged by that 911 operator. I told him I didn't at all insist on having him out, and that the crime wasn't even necessarily a crime. I then went on to tell him that I got hit in the head with a bottle over a week ago. I told him I was only now reporting it after seeing the report about crime at the lake on the news last night.

He asked me some more questions and we sort of resolved that it was a little late to even really care about what I was telling him. He went on to tell me that the crimes at the lake were actually car break ins. Primarily of people who had items in plan site- Like one guy who had his laptop on his passenger seat. I asked him about the sexual assualts. He said there was ONE report of a women being chased and grabbed by her ex, or something like that...Nothing that puts me or other women at any alarming kind of risk. (Which explains why the DPD doesn't plan on upping the police presence at the lake.)

So again, the news and me just don't get along.
I think it's main objective is to put fear in all of us- I'm not sure why, I guess all the hype is exciting.

The officer said my beer-bottle-in-the-head, was more than likely just a litterbug throwing the bottle from the bridge. And I'll add, to remind me to be aware of my surroundings when I'm out on a run. I still feel safe out there on my own. As long as I don't watch the news reports.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aging Sucks

Last night my brother brought his 3 month old Bull Mastiff puppy, Deville, over to our house. When Deville was only about 9 weeks old, he had stayed at our house while my brother was out of town. My dogs were sort of facsinated with Deville at first, but grew tired and seemingly irritated with him by the end of his 8 day stay. Zoe and Scout are 11 years old, so their energy level isn't quite the same as a 9 week old puppy.

So Deville came back over for his first visit since his time at our house last month. And the initial excitement of seeing him was renewed in my girls. So much so, that Scout took off running in a big circle around the yard much like she did when she was much younger. I was so happy to see this in her! "Go Granny!" my husband jokingly said.

But later that night, Scout was hobbling around unable to put any weight on oneof her hind legs. i thought maybe something was in/on her foot, but it looked fine. My husband said she must have pulled something during her sprint.

This morning, she's the same. She doesn't whimper or whine, just barely gets up to walk. And when she does, it's a hobble rather than a walk.

Aging sucks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Zoe's Wearing My Scarf!

My dog, Zoe, loves me so much, she's even willing to model the scarf I just finished knitting for my 200th post on this blog. I tried to get Scout to wear it put she sort of growled at me and walked away.

So, first ugly knitting project is complete! I was going to add some fringe to the ends but decided against it since it turned out so ugly I will never be wearing it anyway. But you know what? I think it's totally cool that I made this- I've intended to learn to knit for years, and now I (sorta) know how. And I'll only get better.

This scarf has several holes from misstiches. (I believe I just created a knew knitting term) It also started out a certain width and then continued growing a shrinking throughout. I have some freakish design pattern that happened because I would forget what stitch I was on. But I learned stuff. And my next scarf is bound to be an improvement from this one.

I am NOT a perfectionist and this is a clear example of that. I kept knitting thinking I'd be fine with all of these imperfections. Put as it got longer, it looked weirder and weirder. Tee Tee (my knitting goddess) told me to pull it out and start over when I saw her last week. After slapping her across the face, I explained to her I want a memento I've where I started.

I think I'm going to make a few dish rags. The commitment isn't quite as big. And I value instant gratification right about now.

If anyone is interested in buying this scarf, drop me an email and I'll see what we can do! ;)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Road Rage

I was just hit over the head with a beer bottle!!!

It's true. I am so fuming mad right now-
But I am thankful for my ballcap.

Even tho a cap makes my head feel hot, I like wearing it because it blocks the sun from my face. And after today, I now know it also blocks beer bottles from cutting my face.

I was at the end of my run, running on a path that runs beneath a few bridges. All of the sudden I feel something hit me HARD on the head, and then I see green glass break on the sidewalk. And I smell a little beer. And I yelled out words of pain (four lettered) and grabbed my head. But then my instinct was, YIKES, keep running!

And as I began running, I looked up to see what looked like a homeless man (at least, I cruelly sort of hope right now that he's homeless)- very scraggly, wearing a backpack and a bandage on one side of his face. And he was glaring at me. So I yelled, "YOU"RE BOTTLE JUST SMACKED ME IN THE HEAD!!!"

And I think I was expecting him to say, "Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!" because I thought MAYBE he just tossed it over the bridge and his only real crime was littering. Maybe he didn't even see me or mean to hit me at all. But judging by his continued glare, I think maybe hitting me on the head was his intent.

So I just kept running. With a headache. But thank God for my ballcap.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You Were Meant For ME

(Life would be even more beautiful if I knew how to rotate this picture!)

I cannot believe I found this hot pink, shag carpet-ish ottoman! Are you kidding me? How lucky can a girl get?!
As I was walking thru the store with it, a woman said, "Oh, my little girl would have loved that about two years ago- but now she's outgrown her pink stage."

Is that really something people OUTGROW? Well, I'm glad we didn't have to fight for it. I'm sure I would've won.

Anyway, it is perfect for my very corporate looking home studio!
I love finding just the perfect thing, that I didn't even know existed.

Ask Yourself These Questions

A friend of mine had forwarded me a column by Cheryl Richardson that I think was posted on Sept. 11th. In the article, Cheryl said that each year, she asks herself these questions. These questions were far too deep for my "Burning Question" blog, so I thought I would just post them here for you to consider. They're really wonderful questions to help reconnect you with matters most in your life.

Am I pleased with how I'm spending my precious time on earth?
Am I spending enough quality time with the people who matter most?
Am I doing my best to listen to the voice of my soul so I make real, honest choices based on what I most want?
If today were my last day on earth, would I feel good about what I'm leaving behind?
Am I sharing (or working toward sharing) my God-given gifts and talents with others?
Are there any petty disagreements or differences that I need to let go of once and for all?
Is there someone I need to forgive?

Monday, September 17, 2007

If I Read It

Today I went to Barnes and Noble to get a look at the OJ Simpson book, If I Did It.
I know lots of people are saying, "I won't read it. It's dispicable!"
And I totally agree that OJ is pretty dispicable. And what he got away with was just sick. But I will not deny my curiousity. I'm not going to feel bad that I want to read that book. Or at least "the" chapter that he tells how he did it.

I've heard people talk about it on tv, so I know the book came out last week out. I know Barnes and Noble is the bookstore that's carrying it. And I know it was the number 1 seller for last week. So I know it's out there. When I walked into B&N, I expected to see it everywhere. Or at least on one of the main display tables. But it wasn't there.

So I had to ask the information desk, "Where's the OJ book." And the two women working there sort of sighed and said, "The OJ book? Hm...I don't even think B&N is carrying that" and I said that yes, you are the only bookstore that's carrying it. So then she checked the computer and said, "Oh. Yeah. We have some ordered." And then turned away from me. As if I was OJ and gullty of his crime.

Give me a brake. 10 years ago, we were all watching the police "chase", we followed the trial, and now all of the sudden, I'm suppose to be ashamed of myself for my interest? I read lots of fine literature, but I deserve my trash too! Yes, I'm curious to read a book based on a killer's quasi-confession. It doesn't mean I think OJ is cool, or that I support murderers. It just means I am curious.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Body Heals

I haven't had a cold in years and so I guess I had this one coming. It started with a sore throat. Then a very sore throat. Then a sinus headache. Sneezing. Sniffles. Snot.

I'm not pretty, but the weather, just really as of today, has just turned beautiful- It's the first hint of summer coming to a gradual end. But as perfect as it would have been for a long ran, or a walk with Zoe and Scout, I missed out. I instead spent the day in pajamas reading, napping and taking a mid-day bath. And honestly, that really was not so bad at all. It was kind of nice. Nice to have that excuse to be a lazy slob all day long.

I've finally put away the pajamas and put on real daytime clothes, and am feeling a little more myself. I gave the body just what it needed today. Rest. And more rest. Nothing much to distract it from fighting the cold. I am a firm believer in what my mom always told me: Rest when you're sick. Let your body heal. So rather than think that I accomplished nothing today, I realize I accomplished a whole lot.

My Morning Download

I'm posting this to see if I can use the hyperlink function here. Although it shows up on my end, it doesn't show up "out there!" So let's try this:

Here's a link to a really cool site to listen to lots of cool music:

Ok, did that work?

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Few Things I LOVE...

*My Mom. And memories of her. This is a picture of me singing a song I wrote about her. I can remember when I use to play it, I could hear her say, "There's my song!"

*My mosaics class that I take at the Creative Arts Center taught by Katrina Doran. It's the one hobby I now have that I don't just do in solitude. I love all the people in our class. And the coolest part of it all is that my husband actually takes the class with me! This was my first mosaic project that I love so much I can barely stop looking at it. In each little square that I divided the frame into, there is a flower- For my mom!!!

*My sweet friend, Willie, who is so talented! He drew this picture of me when I was playing at Cafe Lago one night. (Another thing/place I love) I think the flash on my camera makes it a little hard to see his drawing, so for a better view, visit his blog. And check out his fantastic art work!
Willie's Blog

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Directionally Challenged

There are two phrases that make me nervous when someone is giving me travel directions.
1. "You can't miss it." (because oh yes, I can)
2. "It's a little tricky." (a little?)
I have major problems getting to an unfamiliar area. And sometimes I even have trouble in a very familiar area. I get turned around very easily. It's a form of retardation. It's beyond just being bad with directions.

So the other day, as I was heading off to play at a party, I was haunted by part of the directions I was given: "It's a little tricky", because to me, that can be interpreted as, "You probably will never find this..." So I allowed PLENTY of time. Mapquest estimated the drive to be 33 minutes, so I allowed nearly an hour.

About ten minutes into my drive a downpour began. Yay! And by the time I started getting to the "little tricky" parts, I could barely see anything due to the rain. Oh, and it was turning into rush hour traffic.

Long story short, I called someone at the place I was headed too to let them know I was running a little late. She asked me where I was. I told her the intersection I was stopped at and said, "Oh! You're so close!! You're only about 5 minutes away." then she rattled off more directions that were entirely different than the original ones I was given. Since I was driving in a storm, during rush hour, on highways!! I couldn't write down what she was saying and there's NO WAY I could've remembered it all in the state I was in. I told her thanks, but please just pass the word along that I will be there whenever I get there. She must have empathised with my stuggle because she offered to stay on the phone and guide me in. The "5 minutes" ended up being 25 due to the stand still traffic. But I got there. And she stayed on the phone with me the entire time!

People have all sorts of disabilities. And it is a godsend when you've got someone to help you along your way...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Portable Instruments

I took both piano and guitar lessons as a kid. But it was the guitar that I was most drawn to. For many reasons. One of them being I love that you can carry it from room to room. House to house. You can even take it outside! A piano, on the other hand, has to stay in ONE room.

Now that I'm a KnitWit (previous posts), I realize that this "portability" is also playing a role in why I enjoy the knitting. i took some sewing lessons and bought a sewing machine a few years back. But I never really got that into it. It seemed such a hassle setting up the machine, getting out the material, the matching thread, etc and I was sort of confined to one room, and had to be sitting at a table. Knitting, on the other had, can be done it anywhere and all I need is 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. And then PRESTO: a scarf!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sing It, Girl!

I played at an open mic last night. Actually, it was the first open mic I've ever played at. Still, it seems odd that I felt so nervous. By the time I played, there weren't even that many people there.

But it was a bar. With smoke. And they had mainly "rock bands" so my sound was a big change of scenery. Maybe I was afraid they'd throw beer bottles at me. Instead a very drunk woman stood in front of me for at least two of my songs sort of yelling, "SING IT. YEAH. SING IT, GIRL." And then she'd yell over to who was in charge of sound, "TURN HER UP." She just kept saying it. So he finally told her to just stand right in front of the speaker. I thought that was so funny! She was an awkward distraction to my nerves I guess.

After I finished I sat down beside my husband and said, "I was nervous!" and he gave me this almost humiliated look and said, "Yeah. I could tell." But the crowd was very cool to me and I was really glad I did it after all was sung and done. And getting to see and hear all the other musicians was such fun too.

So even tho smokey bars are NOT my scene, this helps me realize, I should probably get out and do more open mics just for adventure. I figure something that gives me nervous energy like that is something I should do more often until at least other people (like my husband!) can't tell I'm nervous about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Afternoon Delight

Hey, don't get the wrong idea based on my post title! Do you remember that song from the 70s? Well, I'm not talking 'bout THAT kind of Afternoon Delight. As the picture above suggest, I'm talking about the massage I got today at Nordstrom SPA.

Nordstrom Spa is located in, you guessed it, Nordstrom at Northpark Mall. But it doesn't feel like you could be in a mall at all. It's sort of dark (in a great, relaxing way with lit candles) and very quiet and very slow paced. Quite the dichotomy to the rest of the mall.

Everyone's appointment time there starts 15 minutes prior to their treatment time so there's time to put on the cozy chenille robe, drink tea and soak your feet in very warm water in a copper bowl. Yum. After about 15 minutes of sitting in the "relaxation room" my masseuse came to fetch me. (I think I can use that word today. It seemed appropriate, altho prior to right here, right now, I've never used that word to anyone besides a dog.)

My massage today was so relaxing that I unfortunately missed what I wanted to experience the most: Apparently I fell asleep during the foot massage. I think I even snored, but when I asked if I did, my masseuse was nice enough to lie and say, "No, but I could tell you were sleeping." I told her next time to punch me and wake me up because I missed my favorite part. Boo Hoo. But that's a sign of a great massage I guess- complete relaxation.

But that's almost a dangerous thing to do yourself at 3:00 in the afternoon. How am I suppose to be anything but worthless after that? But I enjoy being worthless every now and then and today is that day!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Anti-Contagious Laugh

There is a very fine line between a good hearty contagious laugh, and a laugh that is so loud and obnoxious NOTHING is funny anymore.

I had a very clear demonstration today of a laugh that was far over the line. I went to see "Death of a Funeral" (visit my movie blog here to read my review!). I love a packed movie theatre when the movie is either funny or scary. When the crowd laughs or screams, it just heightens the mood. Usually.

Today however, there were two guys directly behind me howling like banshees any time something even remotely funny was said during the movie. Urgh. It got to the point where I almost dreaded the funny lines in the movie, knowing that the banshees would take over and I would miss tons of dialogue that they would drown out.

It became so uncomfortable. A few people around me kept leering over at the out of control laughers. It seemed to make lots of people kind of edgy. And the crowd wasn't laughing. They just looked annoyed. But it wasn't the movie's fault. The movie probably WAS funny. But oddly, the laughing took away the funny.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Bad Way To End Your Day

Whenever my husband watches the evening news I get out of the room as fast as I can and usually take a bath. I'm not sure why, but I've noticed he's even started recording the news, in case he misses it. I think he is crazy.

Tonight, I just decided to watch. He's asleep on the couch, and I wanted to see if maybe I could understand WHY he not only reads the paper each day, but then watches the news each night. "Maybe I'm wrong about the news. Maybe it's not as negative as I had thought."

Uh uh. NO. Within the first 5 minutes, I started to feel unsafe, uneasy, and actually fearful! I think my blood pressure went up. I cannot believe how many bad news stories they can pack into only a few minutes. Everything from shootings, to break ins, to West Nile virus, to hurricane season- All bad, all scary. The reporters seem to relish in delivering the bad news. It's actually pretty sick.

I realized I was physically starting to feel different while watching. No wonder. How can hearing about and watching all this doom and gloom possibly be a good thing? And this close to bedtime? I know this is just WRONG! I think I know why lots of people like the sports and weather portion of the show, which I realize is saved for the last few minutes. It's because they're virtually the only thing that isn't violent, scary, or depressing on the news. Altho, I guess even sports and weather can occasionally fall under those categories.

Anyway, it's back to the bathtub or my music room during this time. I can think of a thousand better ways to spend my time. And they all bring a much nicer end result...

I AM a Knitwit!

Who remembers "Knit Magic" from the 70's? I remember the commercial jingle, "The faster you turn, the faster you knit...." and was enthralled. I begged Mom to get me my own Knit Magic. I loved it. The only thing I knew how to make was wristbands so I made several pairs for my brother. That must have been when I first got interested in the idea of knitting. Little did I know you could do it by hand, with knitting needles and that you could make more than just wristbands!

I went to the KnitWits meeting yesterday. First let me tell you what you KnitWits are famous for: Last year they donated 1800 knitted hats for the babies at Parkland hospital. 1800!!! Some of these ladies have been knitting for years. Anbd by years, I mean more years than I've been alive!

Tee Tee said she's been at it for something like 50 years. She didn't even look much older than that herself so she must have started very young. She told me to pick out some yarn and she gave me a pair of pink knitting needles and she showed me how to "cast" and how to "knit". As soon as I got into the groove of how to do it, I found that I couldn't talk. Or even listen to the conversations around me. I was having to concentrate so hard. Tee Tee told me to practice more when I got home and then tomorrow, she'd show me how to "pearl". Once I got home to do it, I immediatly made a mistake I didn't know how to fix. So I called Alice, my 80-something year old neighbor across the street, who seems to know everything. (And I mean that in the best way!) I thought just maybe she'd know about knitting. And of course, she did. She told me to come right over and she'd help me sort out my screw up.

Alice got me going again and I felt pretty confident as I left her house. But then, soon after I was cut loose, I did something wrong again. I tried to fix it and only made things worse. By then, it was too late (and too humiliating) to bother Alice again.

But now, it's almost time to leave to meet up with Tee Tee again. But I am not ready to learn how to pearl. Clearly. I need to stick with just knitting. And learning how to back up and correct a mistake.

Yesterday I set out to become a Knitwit. And I think I clearly achieved that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Want to Be a Knitwit

In a few minutes, I'm leaving for my first Knitwit meeting. I've wanted to learn to knit or crochet for quite some time now. I don't know why it appeals to me so, but for now, it does. I can just imagine myself sitting in front of the tv (not) watching football on a cool day knitting myself or a friend a little hat, a scarf, or maybe some mittens! It seems like something I could really get into.

A few months ago, I heard about a knitting group that meets at the library once a week. Pretty cool. Once I found out they called themselves KNITWITS, and I knew I belonged there! Supercool.

So, here I go. I have nothing to take with me this time. No yarn. No knitting needles. I just wanted to LOOK this time and then come back prepared with my knitting supplies next time. So I'm off...and soon, I'll be able to call myself a KNITWIT!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


When I was a kid I was enthralled by people who could balance on their bicycle with no hands. I can remember there was a boy who would ride around our neighborhood writing on a little pad of paper while he rode his bike and I thought ( and still think) that was such a talent. But one I have never mastered. On a good day I can take one hand off the handle bars for a few seconds without hurting anyone, or myself. I'm a spaz that way.

Even more skilled are the bicycle riders who don't hold on to the handle bars are the UNICYCLISTS!!! Oh my! Now THERE is talent. No bars AT ALL. Just one wheel and two peddles. That's insane.

Today I saw a unicyclist at the intersection of Knox/Henderson and Central Expressway (A well-trafficked intersection). Brave. Or stupid. I was wondering, "How is he going to stop?" Well, I got to see what he did when he came to a red light. He just grabbed on to a pole and hung on until the light changed back to green and then he took off again. I want to know about the getting on and getting off now.

You don't see many unicyclists. Is that because it's difficult? Or because it's just weird looking? Or both? If I thought I had it in me, I think I'd buy one. I'm sort of fascinated...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just Show Up

All week long, I've been at the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC. It's a great songwriting "camp"- no camping involved tho or I wouldn't be here. Today was the last day of all the classes and all the concerts.

I think I listened to so many people, that at this point, I don't even know what kind of stuff I learned! Now it's just time to sort of sit with it, and process it.

One practice I began this week, you can apply to just about any area of your life. It's something I already "know" but it was so good to be reminded and then to be sort of forced to practice it for a week. And it was this: To approach a project you want to work on in small increments of time. So for me, each day, I'd sit with my guitar for 20 minutes and just PLAY around with my songwriting. I sat with the same song each day for 20 minutes during a portion of one of my classes. Some days nothing was really happening. Some days I came up with something stupid. And some days I came up with some stuff I actually liked. But the thing is, I SHOWED up. Each day. And that is a great habit to form.

Typically, I sit down with a song and spend long stretches of time on it. So when I don't have a big block of time, I think I don't have time to write at all. But a little 20 minutes here, and a little 20 minutes there, and all that time in between when your subconcious creatively works on things you don't even know about--and you've got yourself a song. Or a novel. Or a series of sketches. Or whatever it is that you like to create!

So consider trying it yourself. It can be just 15 minutes. And it's okay if all you do is SIT THERE. Your only job is to show up. Doesn't that sound easy?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Oh my god!!! I am so happy. Reporting to you here from ASHEVILLE, NC!!! I'm attending the Swannanoa Gathering which is a week long song camp. I'm taking 4 classes each day and getting to listen to so much great music and meet such nice people.
Can't I just live here already?!

Maybe you've felt this way about a place before too: Whenever I visit, I feel like it's my home and that I shouldn't just be here for a week. I think I belong here. My brother feels it about Hawaii, my sister feels it about Seattle (and fortunately, LIVES there!), and I feel it about Asheville. We've all got our little "dream living" places I guess.

But what I know is, I'm here for a little over a week. I'm going to LOVE every minute of it. But, for now at least, Dallas is my home. And when it comes time to return, I've got good reasons to go back.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sweet Charity

I went and saw "Sweet Charity" at Fair Park tonight. It may be my favorite musical I've ever seen, and I've seen some good ones.

First of all let me say, the Music Hall at Fair Park is UGLY. There is not one pretty thing inside that theater that could possibly distract you from looking at the stage. We live in Dallas. Can't we have some pretty in the theater??? The seats are a gross synthetic itchy material in green, the carpet is some random beige and the walls are brown. Even the curtain is ugly. I suggest in the time between "Sweet Charity" and the next musical that doesn't begin until mid-Sept, that they renovate that place. The people of Dallas deserve better. We paid $70 a seat. C'mon people!

Ok, now that I've gotten the rant out of the way, let me RAVE!

Paige Douglas, from the Trading Places (Spaces?) show, is Charity- a good hearted prostitute that wants to trade in her life for a good one. And she is so likeable, you want her to get it! She was spectacular. She's not just some famous person who got lucky to be cast in a great musical because of her name. She's hugely talented.

There were lots of great songs: "Hey Big Spender!" and "If They Could See Me Now" were just a few. And the dancing was awesome! It was a sweet love story- A romance, but really more about Charity really loving herself most importantly.

It was about 3 hours of pure entertainment. I was excited the whole time. I just LOVED it. It's a short run, so go see it soon. If you like musicals AT ALL, you will love this one. I money-back guarantee it. (Not really. But I really do think any theatre fan would love this one. Even in that ugly theatre!)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is It Friendly Here?

The other day I was talking to some friends about upcoming travel spots. One person was going to Charleston- or maybe just talking about wanting to go there. Anyway, someone then commented on the friendliness (or actually I think it might have been the unfriendliness??) of the people there. We then went on to weigh in on our opinion of the friendliness of the people in Dallas. Having lived here all of my life and being a pretty friendly person myself, I want to stick up for Dallas and say, "YES! Dallas is a friendly town." But I'll admit, I've been plenty of places that felt pretentious and unwelcoming. I guess Dallas is so big, and therefore, we've got it all!

I understand that sometimes when you're visiting somewhere, you just get a vibe for the people around you- Either being welcoming, geniune, talkative, or the opposite of those. And maybe we jump to labeling that whole town as either friendly or not. But that's sort of ridiculous, right?

But my basic belief if that you can find great people anywhere and everywhere! And you can also find just the opposite in those same places. But I also think attitudes are contagious. It's challenging to reach out to others when you feel like no one else is. We've all got to do our part.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Now that I think back on it, I don't remember seeing many cell phones while on my vacation. I think on many of those islands, it's hard to get service. Now that I'm back in Dallas, I am SO AWARE of how out-of-control the whole cell phone thing seems to be. I notice many people walking their dogs or pushing their kids in strollers at White Rock Lake with their cell phone attached to their heads. When I was at lunch today at Mockingbird station, I noticed many people on their phones on my walk to and from the restaurant. And so there were no friendly hellos from or to strangers. Then of course, while at lunch, cell phones. Even at my own table. Urgh. I notice that by being more "connected" we are all really less connected.

The lady in front of me at Target today was on her cell phone during her whole transaction. The people at my Target are actually pretty unfriendly and they rarely talk to customers anyway, but when someone is on a cell phone, why WOULD they want to interupt? And so, everyone stays in their own little cell phone world.

And then on the flip side, there's me. Equally annoying to others, perhaps. I HAVE a cell phone. But it's really more of a message center. I rarely answer it and have an aversion to talking on it. So my friends will ask, "DO you EVER answer you cell phone?" These days, if someone can't get in touch with you immediatly, they think something is wrong. But I don't want to talk on my phone when I'm with other friends, or shopping, or on a walk with my dogs. I want to notice things around me! I want my dogs to know that when I'm with them, there's nowhere else I'd rather be! And I want to say hi to strangers that cross my path!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm Back

I'm back from my vacation. Actually, I've been back for about a week! This is what usually happens to me after a great vacation: I am in denial that I am back. I tend to fall off the face of the earth and become more reclusive than ever. Is this healthy???

So the vacation was fantastic. St. Maarten and St. Thomas were my two favorite islands that we visited, altho everywhere we went was just beautiful. And even the days at sea were great. Three of the days we got to snorkel and we saw all sorts of fish, coral, and even a big sea turtle!

No major fiascos, just a lot of fun. Altho, wait...we had a bit of a problem with our first dinner table. But that's another blog for another time... For now I'll just say, I know what it must feel like to be a foreigner in a land where no one speaks your language or even wants to. (It SUCKS)

My dogs were super happy to see us come home. For the first time ever I didn't take my guitar with me and so for over a week I didn't play any music. So I had some big reasons to return.

And so here I am. Back in Dallas. But in one week I'm going on my solo vacation to NORTH CAROLINA, so its hard to complain!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bon Voyage!

"Traveling is like falling in love: the world is made new."

I doubt I'll be able to blog from my trip to the Virgin Islands, so I guess there will be no new posts here for about a week. If that makes you sad, thank you, and now just go visit the archives and read old blogs that maybe you missed before!

We're going on a cruise that leaves from San Juan and then goes to 4 cool islands- St. Thomas, Aruba,Curacao (which I have been pronouncing wrong and leading people to believe I'm heading to Africa...) and St. Maarten. Other than San Juan, these are all places I've never been to before. I plan to snorkel, beachcomb and collect seashells for mosaics, play at the beach, and watch a lot of bad karoake and who knows what else?!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

If I Died in a Tornado

It has been raining, endlessly, for I think about a month now. Most people are sick of it. Oddly, I am NOT. If it were winter and this were cold rain, I'd be bitching and moaning with the best of them. But it's July 3rd and due to the rains, we haven't hit 100 degrees yet, so how could I complain?

Besides keeping the temperatures down, I just love rain. RainsSTORMS in particular- with thunder and lightening, howling winds- the works. All the bells and whistles a storm has to offer.

My fondest elementary school memories are the ones of my classmates and me getting under our desks at school during tornado drills and warnings. Good times!

My sister moved to Seattle years ago. She misses the lightening storms we get here. I've called her before when I'm all excited about an oncoming storm. Altho she somewhat shares my delight, I think I'm in love with stormy weather more than her. She even once said to me, "Well, if you ever die in a tornado, at least I'll know you died happy." Really, so true.

Monday, July 2, 2007

My Computer On Drugs

...or maybe it's me!

I woke up after a horrible night's sleep and a very sore neck. Was I in a car wreck this weekend? Or was is just too much mosaics? All that looking down at the piece I'm working on has got my spine in a horrible tizzy.

But I'M ON IT. At this point, when I have a "flare up" I know what to do: heating pad, traction, and stretching. And drugs. When I say drugs, usually a few Advil is as crazy as I get. But this morning I round some samples a doctor had given me of muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. Pained rebel that I am, I said, "Hell yeah" and swallowed.

And now I'm feeling slightly odd. Like I just took a hit of Nyquil. And when I type on my computer, my fingers are typing the words faster than they're appearing on screen. I think it's because I'm in my kitchen and I've got a weak signal in here. But it feels very trippy and sort of fun too. Or has the muscle called my brain just relaxed?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Secret To Slim and Sexy Abs!

Well, it IS bikini season and I know lots of people are looking for a quick and easy way to look great this summer. Thanks to TIVO, I rarely watch any commercials. But somehow, some-lucky-how, I got to see this infomercial for the Hawaiian Chair. Here is a condensed version of the commercial. I am so sorry I couldn't bring the full-length commercial to you! However, I DO believe this is enough to pique your interest...
Hawaiian Chair

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Attempting a Hyperlink!

I'm not sure why I'm so interesting in reading articles about sleep. But I am. I am always amazed to read about how many people are sleep deprived and how dangerous and unhealthy that is. I don't know if I'm a night owl or an early bird. I think I'm something in between. But I know that I often feel tired. So I guess I like reading articles and tips about sleep because I want mine to be as effective as possible.

Someone wrote a great blog on it today:
(and this is my first attempt to hyperlink on goes...hope it works!)


Did it work? If it did, click on that link and read all about sleep cycles and what to do to get yours on track!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My friend took this picture of me singing at Cafe Lago- which by the way, I do every Friday from 7-9pm. He told me to post it. So I'm posting it! But I cannot seem to get it to post.... Urgh


The birthday week is winding down. In fact, it just may be over.
But it ended on such a high note!

I met with my "Do Nothing Lunch Bunch" at Bennihana. I picked the place for this week, knowing it would be for my birthday celebration (one day late). It was SO fun. I love Bennihana. But I'm just not sure how to spell it.

I love the way your group gets their own table in a small room with just one other table! I love it that the man who cooks the food does fancy stuff with his utensils! It's a thrilling cooking show. They brought out pink ice cream (a.k.a. strawberry) for dessert. How did they KNOW? And then, they took a polaroid picture of us so I could remember this day forever! Or, for a long, long time. For a WHILE. (I'm getting older...)

I got sweet cards and funny cards. And my dad gave me some cashola!!! YAY. I love birthday celebrations.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Even tho today is my official birthday, it was mainly celebrated yesterday. Most of the today I spent just with my dogs. Which actually, come to think of it, who would I rather spend a lazy day with than Zoe and Scout?? Absolutely no one, really.

But tonight my husband and I went to (what I thought would be) an anti-climatic birthday celebration at Mariano's. We go there a lot. It's about a block from the house.

Just as we walked in, we saw a guy laying on the floor right by the bar. The hostess seemed to not notice. We pointed to him as if to ask her, "What's up?" and then I said, "So is he just kidding around?" and she responded as if she was coming out of a coma. Very slowly. "I don't think so...." But my husband was on it. He ran over to him and said, "Sir".... (no response)...."Sir" (pushing on the guys chest and still no response) "SIR!!!" and at the same time noticed there was a pool of blood behind his head on the floor and so he said, "CALL 911"... I don't know the beginning of the end of this story. Just the climax of it. But I think he just slipped and fell and the fall knocked him out. Maybe? Anyway, an ambulance came and took him off...

We ate our meal. And then as we were getting into our car to leave my husband said, "Whoa. I just saw a guy slam the door of the car he was in and then hit it- he's pissed-" and just as my husband was finishing his sentence we heard a "S-C-R-E-E-C-H" or tires. As the guy of the fighting couple was climbing over a brick wall at the edge of the parking lot, the girl driver/fighter was screaming out of control obscenities and heading towards him. He couldn't get over the wall so he was pacing like a bull around the parking lot as she yelled and yelled. He then punched the car again and roared. Roared. She sped away, but was back seconds later. Screaming more stuff I'd love to repeat here, but feel that maybe I shouldn't. They were absolutely out of control and if one of them had a gun, we would've witnessed a murder I'm pretty sure. During this whole yelling, screeching, punching the car scene the girl nearly hit a Ferrari as well as a few pedestrians. It was very scary, very exciting. The kind of stuff I will admit that I sort of love. Again, I don't know the beginning or the end of this story either, but I'm pretty sure I saw and heard the climax. Or at least one of them!

I never would've guessed all the excitement we had in store for us as we walked out our door to go up to Mariano's for a casual dinner tonight. It was not the anti-climatic dinner I had expected at all.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I'm always the one at our house that gets the mail... So if there's "fun" mail, like a magazine or a postcard, I read it. Yay! Otherwise, if it looks like a bill, or a waste of time, I put it in the pile with the newspaper for my husband to look at.

Yesterday after he got home from work, he was going thru the mail and held up on envelope and asked, "What's this?"- I looked at it more carefully this time and saw that the return address was SAFELIGHT Dallas Stops on Red. It was addressed to HIM, so I said, "OOOOOH. You got busted for running a red light with one of those new cameras!" and then I ripped open the envelope to look over the evidence.

There were 3 pictures. 2 of which were the first ones I saw, that were both just pictures of cars driving thru an intersection. I didn't see anything that looked like his car. So my first reaction was, "Hm. Weird. How could they make this mistake?" But the third picture was the upclose shot of the rear view of the car and it's license plate number. It was a yellow Beetle- MY CAR. WHAT?!?!?! And then I looked again at the other two pictures and saw MY CAR turning on a RED LIGHT. So I said, "YOU must have been driving my car"- which my husband just laughed at. He laughed because he SO rarely drives my car he must have thought it was an insane assumption. (He thinks he looks gay when he drives my car- yellow convertible Beetle with a big pink flower in it- How is that gay, I ask???)

I even checked a calendar to see what day of the week the pictures were taken. A Sunday! More proof that he must have been driving! Sometimes when we're out on the weekend, I ask him to drive if we're in my car. Usually it's a "no", but sometimes he'll do it. I guess it depends on how masculine or feminine he's feeling on that particular day. But as we looked closer at the pictures, it was clear to see, since the top was down, (oh, I mean the cars top, not mine) it was, in fact, me driving.

And then it all came back to me. YES. I do remember running that light. A big DART bus was in front of me and I remember not being able to see the light but just thinking, "I'll just be like an extension of the bus and run thru the light with DART."
I am notoriously a granny driver. I drive slow and I follow the rules. Almost always! So it just seems unbelievable I got caught! It made so much more sense to think that this was someone else driving my car. But pictures don't lie. And this was wasn't worth a thousand words, but it will cost me $75.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Get on the Bus, Gus

I love youtube. For reasons like this: You can always find cool video performances by whomever you love- big or small, it seems! I ran across the video of Feist singing my lastest favorite song I previously mentioned in a blog, "I Feel It All". She sang it on Jimmy Kimmel ON A BUS. And I don't know why that is so cool, but it just is! Visit and search FEIST, and you'll find the video... (Once again, I'm sorry I can't hyperlink it for you here.)

I have come to love Jimmy Kimmel as well. First and foremost, Sarah Silverman is his girlfriend. Secondly, he was a little mean to Nicole Richie when she was on. And at the end of each show (or at least the ones I watch 'til the bitter end) he says, "Sorry Matt Damon, we ran out of time". And lastly, Jimmy had a musical guest perform while riding around town ON A BUS- FEIST ON A BUS. How I wish I had been a passenger that night!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Solstice

Today is Summer Solstice- The longest day of the year, as well as the first official day of summer. My brother-in-law, Chris, took this beautiful picture. He lives in Seattle and this was what the sky looked when he looked out his window. He was smart enough to snap a picture to capture such a night sky. Doesn't that look magical? He said it reminded him of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night painting. So I guess it IS magic.

Here's to a beautiful summer: Lots of chirping birds and green grass, hot weather, Dad's pool, refuge from the heat in a movie theater, early morning runs, late night dog-walks, watermelon, vacations, lightening bugs, long days, lots of sunshine, fireworks! and skies that, at times, can look like a van Gogh painting...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ross the Intern

When I discover something new and great, I like to tell others, SO-

My latest blog discovery is (Sorry I don't know how to do it as a hyperlink here, or I would to make it easy for you to visit...Please just take the time to copy it and go there as soon as you finish THIS blog) It is written by "Ross the Intern" from the Tonight Show. Hopefully, you've seen him on there before and are familiar with who he is. In case you're not, in a nutshell, the Tonight Show sends Ross out to lots of Hollywood events where he VERY enthusiastically meets and interviews lots of celebrities. He was also just on Celebrity Fit Club and since he wrote and spoke about it on his blog, I tuned in last night for the finale. I was really good. (And just a side note- Screech from Saved by the Bell was on it too and he is a complete A-HOLE.)

Anyway, Ross is really funny- Gay, really nice, funny and lives a very exciting life, which apparently, NBC has paid him to talk and write about. His blogs are daily, and short which I enjoy. So many blogs these days are so long and that gets boring- Ross's is blog is NOT boring.

He's going to co-host The View July 17th and I, for one, think it would be a brilliant move on their part to really spice things up around there and have him be a permanent host, now that Rosie is gone. I haven't watched the show since she left, and have no plans to, but if Ross were on there, I would!

But for now, I've got his blog. And I love it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Birthday Week

Today isn't my birthday, however it is the beginning of my Birthday Week.

My husband makes fun of me that I start announcing my upcoming birthday well before it has arrived. Actually, I really haven't done this so much in the last several years, but since he still tells it that way, I might as well live up to it.

Now that I'm getting a little older, I'm not so big on announcing the actual AGE I'm turning- But I think each year I'm here, really IS a reason to celebrate. I am grateful for the years I've accumulated so far.

I can remember being a kid, and my mom was in her 30s/40s , and I would think how cool it would be to be her age. I thought it would mean I'd really feel sure of myself, and not care so much about what other people thought. THAT'S what I thought growing older was all about.

But here I am, in my 30s, and it's really not what I had expected. A lot of things don't feel much different than they did when I was 8! At times, in certain situations, I'm still very unsure of myself. I still probably worry too much about what other people think of me. But some of the great things about not feeling I've matured equally to my years: I'm still very excited by this life, I know I still have tons of things to look forward to, and millions of things to learn.

And so begins my birthday week. The actual DAY if June 24. Just like most things in life, I like the build-up almost as much as the actual event. Just like a vacation. I LOVE the several weeks before a big trip. Talking about it, dreaming about it, planning it out, counting the days until- I love that kind of anticipation. So even if it's just for my birthday, I'm gonna do it! Bring on all the bells and whistles...